SPAIN’S economy is to get a much needed boost this summer as up to a million extra tourists flock to the country due to the chaos in the Middle East and North Africa.
Experts predict a rise of between two and 2.5 per cent this year, as holidaymakers – mostly from Northern Europe – avoid troublespots like Tunisia, Morocco and Egypt and book holiday lettings in Spain.
Francesc Valls, a tourism expert at ESADE business school in Barcelona estimates that the rise could help to create up to 10,000 new jobs.
This would make up for around 180,000 positions lost since the economic crisis hit the country three years ago.
But he warned that the country had to become more competitive, slashing prices and improving on quality levels.
“Spain has a lot to offer … but we fall short in terms of price-to-quality and legislative control,” he said.
Tourism accounts for about 11 per cent of Spain’s gross domestic product, despite a global reduction in spending in travel.
Last year saw a rise of 1.4 per cent to 53 million visits.